TB Ward is an artist based in Hastings-on-Hudson. He will exhibit 4 mixed media works in DRAWING THE LINE, a group exhibition I curated at the Pelham Art Center, Pelham, NY (February 16-April 2, 2023). His image above, titled FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S BAD DREAM, is 25 x 22 inches, wood, wire, acrylic paint, and miscellaneous metal hardware and will be installed in the exhibition. Notice how the wires span top to bottom and side to side in straight lines, and how metal screws, nails, circular metal washers and other hardware show up in a staccato line along the inside edges of the frame. The background is painted off-white and grey. Wood and wires overlap and create triangles and polygonal interior shapes, including a circle in the center that’s a negative space. Notice how the wires and nails cast shadows – more lines – that create a drawing on the painted grey background below.
DRAWING THE LINE includes 8 visual artists – TB Ward, who creates mixed media assemblage, and 7 artists who create 2D and 3D works and installations that are abstract drawings with lines, circles, spirals, grids, dashes and dots. Their media include graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil on paper, fabric and thread, painted linen strips and cord, wire mesh, wool, woven metal hardware, knotted chenille pipe cleaners, and chains of safety pins and wire. Save the date for the opening reception on Thursday, February 16, 2023, 6:00-8:00 pm.
See TB Ward’s paintings, drawings and mixed media at his website and follow him on Instagram.
The image above is titled PINK & GREEN BALLET. It’s 84 x 84 inches, created with wood, wire and miscellaneous hardware. You will see this work installed at the Pelham Art Center. Notice the frame is painted the same pink and green as the wood shapes suspended within. Notice the background is open and the wires and hardware cast shadows on the wall.
I asked TB Ward if the hardware was antique. He said: “I have a habit of picking things up that I find in the street, and I buy hardware for all sorts of projects in the home, so I always have a stash of nails, screws, hinges and things you might need for house repairs or construction. I often leave this hardware outside in boxes in the sun and rain to encourage rusting which I think gives the work an older feel.” He says his daughter and her friends call them his tetanus boxes!
The image above is titled FRENCH, 44 x 43 inches, created with painted wood, wire and miscellaneous hardware. This work will be installed in the Pelham Art Center window, on a wall facing the street. Notice how wires connect to other wires and hold painted wood shapes suspended within the open space in TB Ward’s hand-built frame. The artist creates all his frames. When asked how the wires stay taut, he says he loops wire around itself 2, 3 or even 4 times to create the tension necessary for straight lines. The wood in this work came from a box the artist found in France. TB Ward says “Recycling Day can be a goldmine, but, if I’m using wood that I’ve bought new, I’ll paint it very roughly, maybe use a couple of basic stencils to create some shape and form, but then I’ll leave it for weeks and months before cutting.”
The image above is titled RULER OF NOTHING, 38 x 38 inches, created with wood, wire and miscellaneous hardware. This work will be installed in the exhibition at the Pelham Art Center. Link here to a YouTube video about TB Ward, created in 2018 by his friend, a musician named Joel Pike (Tiny Leaves). It shows the artist in his Shropshire, UK studio at work on some of the mixed media works included in this post. Link here to the artist’s website MIXED MEDIA gallery to see additional works with wire, wood and hardware.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
TB Ward was born in Barnsley, England in 1968. He studied printmaking at North Stafordshire Polytechnic and created mostly linocuts, etching and monoprints. He moved to London via Liverpool and formed the band Elevate in 1992, released two albums, Bronzee (1994) and The Architect (1996) on Flowershop Records. He recorded two Peel Sessions at the BBC, and also signed to Sony Publishing. He relocated to NYC in 1996 and says he was motivated by the search for inspiration from a new environment. He re-focused on painting and the visual arts. TB Ward worked with Sol LeWitt in 2000 on a major installation commissioned by the Embassy Suites Hotel in Lower Manhattan. He has completed commissions and projects in London, Dublin, Stockholm, Moscow, Chicago and Palm Springs.
Visit TB Ward’s ABOUT page. Link here to see paintings from two recent Upstream Gallery (Hastings on Hudson, NY) solo exhibitions and read his artist’s statement about plein air paintings he made in the UK in 2017 and 2018. He said: “I fell in love with oil paint whilst making those paintings. However, I gravitate towards abstraction and a new series of paintings leans back that way.” The artist says he doesn’t second guess the idea of mixing landscape and the abstract – saying “It’s landscape; it’s human impact; it’s color; it’s line; it’s composition, it’s time, it’s instinct; it’s influence from art history; it’s a decision to make art. It’s everything. But I’m left questioning. I look forward to moving on; this must lead somewhere, the inexorable quest for work with meaning.”
The image above is titled COUND BROOK. It’s oil on canvas, 40×30 inches and dated 2021. I first saw this painting at TB Ward’s 2021 solo Upstream Gallery exhibition and knew I wanted to invite him into this exhibition. You see lines everywhere: It’s an oil painting and there are thin lines that divide space horizontally and vertically, thicker lines that bunch together and create massed shapes. I love the blended pink and blue colors and the way the oil paint is applied in thin layers with the painted lines showing inside and above. This work is delicate, enigmatic and atmospheric.
TB Ward wrote an artist’s statement for the solo exhibition: “It’s 2021 and I simply feel the need to make beautiful paintings. It seems like the right thing to do. Looking back, the color choice was most certainly an emotional response to a lot of the negative news that we were and continue to be bombarded by – I wanted to escape the outside world, be in my studio making paintings that felt positive and uplifting. Having said that, the lines and serial numbers and money codes which are taken from dollar bills (which I hand painted but designed to look as if they are stamped upon the image) were asking questions. They represented the monetization of our natural world – a commentary on our placement of arbitrary value on the land around us, and our perception of the land as something to be bought and sold. I liked the contrast of these carefully painted numbers against the expressive, roughly painted canvas.”
The exhibition was reviewed by Christy Knell for HudCo (8/15/21) and opens with the statement: “TB Ward might be the coolest guy we’ve ever met. The artist looks for line, whether it is made in pencil, a scratch on a surface or created with a piece of manipulated wire.” Link here to read the exhibition review and scroll down to see an image of the artist at work on a group of very large oil paintings, all 2021. Right below the image, TB Ward responds to this question – What are your goals as an artist? He says: “To keep evolving and working with intensity.”
Recent 2022 Oil Paintings
The image above is a painting titled THE RIDICULOUS FANATICISMS OF MEN. It’s 54×80 inches, oil on canvas, dated 2022, and created as a diptych (2 canvases together). Notice all the drawing in this work: exuberant lines exploding in every direction, the title is hand-painted in tiny letters on top right, a delicate, fine line drawing of a world map is on the left, birds are scattered in flight, you see a control tower, a rainbow, and the low flying jet that (we hope) is coming in for a landing.
The image above is a painting titled IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, 40×30 inches, also dated 2022. It’s oil on canvas with washes of oil paint in pink, yellow, white and grey. Notice there’s a drawing of an airplane and text above that tells you it’s about “FLYING AIRCRAFT”. Link here to TB Ward’s PAINTING galleries (2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022) and see the evolution of his paintings with drawing, lines and hand painted letters, numbers and words.
TB Ward is showing works currently in an exhibition titled The Thread Through Things (December 2-January 28, 2023). The show traces the artist’s path from idea to sketch to completed painting and shows all the stops along the way. The exhibition is presented by the Hastings Village Arts Commission, at Village Hall, 7 Maple Street, Hastings on Hudson, NY.
TB Ward says: “What I love about being an artist is the whole process. I make observational sketches – studies of a landscape, a person, or an object – and over time these moments can feed directly, or sometimes indirectly, into paintings whether they are realistic or abstract. To me, it’s an obvious and intuitive path from sketch to final piece, but this is not always apparent to the onlooker when only viewing the finished painting. I hope this show will communicate the thread through all of my art and highlight the relevance, as well as the beauty, of the steps along the way.”
The image above is a small drawing titled GARLAND DRIVE (Hastings on Hudson, NY), pencil on paper, 11 x 9 inches, dated 2021. TB Ward says: “I see this type of drawing as a necessity in terms of keeping my eye trained to observe and my hand relaxed in terms of mark making. Obviously, the drawing is to be read as a street with steps and trees and houses, but when I’m actually physically putting pencil to paper, I’m really just making marks on the surface, exactly as I would when painting one of my abstract paintings. It just so happens that the marks on these drawings gradually build up to form an image that is readable to the viewer as a particular scene or thing, but in a way that’s not my primary concern when making the drawing.”
The image above is an untitled drawing TB Ward created on his iPhone and posted on Instagram with this text: “More feelings from the passenger seat. Pretty lovely ever changing subtle winter colors in the late afternoon from somewhere to somewhere in northern New York State. #digitaldrawing #iphonedrawing (and more).
Here’s one last image – titled FRUITS OF THY LABOUR – mixed media assemblage with acrylic on wood, wire and miscellaneous hardware, 20×20 inches, dated 2017. The wires in this work are less visible because the background has more layered, painted wood. You see hardware along the edges of the wood frame, but don’t see wires clearly. Link here to the artist’s MIXED MEDIA gallery to see all the works with wood, wire and hardware, and also see works like FRUITS OF THY LABOUR that are created like bas relief sculpture.
Thank you for reading about TB Ward and his work. Please save the date – Thursday, February 16, 2023, 6:00-8:00 pm for the opening reception for DRAWING THE LINE at the Pelham Art Center.
Your comments are welcome.